A R G U M E N T
IN BEHALF OF
THE NEW ENGLAND SHIP-OWNERS' ASSOCIATION AND OTHERS,
THE ABOLITION OF COMPULSOBY PILOTAGE
ON SAILING VESSELS,
J. B. RICHARDSON,
BEFORE THE JOINT STANDING COMMITTEE ON MERCANTILE
AFFAIRS OF THE GENERAL COURT OF MASSACHUSETTS,
FEBRUARY 2.5, 1882,
WITH o .
Petition of Ship-owners, and other statements relating to the subject.
Mr. Chairman and Gentlemen of the Committee: —
The New England Ship-owners' Association, and other
parties interested in shipping, who have appeared before you,
either personally or by petition, and asked you to recommend
to the General Court a repeal of those provisions of the pilot-
age regulations which make the payment of pilotage fees on
sailing vessels in the ports of this State compulsory, represent
the shipping interests of Massachusetts. And these parties
have asked this, in the belief that compulsory pilotage is now
unnecessary, a useless burden, a fruitful source of litigation,
and an injury to the commerce of the State.
The men who comprise this Association, and these parties,
are the active business men of the present time, — men whose
interests and fortunes are those of the public ; men to whom
the Commonwealth and her seaport cities and towns are in-
debted for what remains of your interest in foreign commerce ;
men who are still struggling with adverse circumstances and
hostile legislation to keep the flag of your country upon the
ocean. They are men of business experience and prudence ;
and they will sustain the loss, if any occurs in consequence of
the granting of the request which they here make.
By whom are they opposed? A few privileged incumbents
of an office whose only interest in the subject is the amount of
their fees, — not one of whom owns or represents a dollar in
shipping. With one exception, no person who has any inter-
est in foreign shipping or commerce has appeared to sec-
ond or aid the pilots in their opposition, and this exception
is a retired shipmaster, who has not sailed a ship for thirty
years. From these privileged possessors of an office you hear
the same objections that you always have heard, and always
will hear, from the occupants of any office or place which
it becomes your duty to abolish.
Like the old German barons who erected castles on the
banks and islands of the Rhine, and forcibly exacted tolls from
all voyagers, up or down, they pray not to be molested. Like
the Hellgate pilots of East River, who carried on a legalized
piracy on the commerce at the port of New York for forty
years, they want to be let alone. We have grown old and
gray in our office, say they; what shall we do without it?
I am not unaware of what might be justly said against com-
pulsory pilotage, as belonging to that obnoxious kind of law
which is called "class legislation;" or to what might be said
against it as being contrary to that natural sense of right which
every man has against being obliged to pay another for some-
thing which he does not have, or use, or want; or even against
the gross injustice of making a few persons pay the entire
expense of maintaining an institution whose existence is
claimed to be for the benefit of the whole public.
I must "be content here with the more limited practical duty
of endeavoring to show that the reasons which called compul-
sory pilotage into existence, and which have been in times
past presented for its continuance, no longer exist; that it is
not only not now needed, but is a useless and grievous burden
upon the shipping interest of the State.
REASONS ORIGINALLY GIVEN FOR COMPULSORY PILOTAGE.
Now, if you will examine into the reasons originally assigned
for the compulsory feature of the pilotage laws, you will find
that the chief and real one was the alleged increase of safety to
the lives of passengers on board such vessels thereby.
As to property merely, in ships, or in such merchandise as
is carried on sailing vessels, or as to the protection of it, no
government has ever undertaken to dictate to its owners what
measures they must take to save or insure it against loss. It
may be prudent or best for owners of such property to insure
it against fire, or the perils of the sea, but no government has
ever attempted to compel such owners to do so.
No, you will, by looking into the history of compulsory
pilotage, find that its creation or adoption was put upon the
ground of alleged necessity for the protection to the lives of
passengers on board such vessels, in which lives the owners of
the vessels had no interest, and which they could not insure.
This is virtually admitted in recent acts of the British Parlia-
ment, which have exempted certain vessels from such compul-
sory pilotage, when such vessels do not carry passengers. The
acts of Congress on the transportation of passengers on steam-
vessels are to the same point. The strict requirements in the acts
of Congress, as to the number and qualifications of the officers
and crews of vessels, life-boats, life-preservers, etc., are expressly
limited to vessels carrying passengers. (See U. S. Revised
Statutes, sections 4463-4498, 4492.) Admitting the sufficiency
of this reason for compulsory pilotage at some period in the past,
what application does it have to sailing-vessels now? Who does
not see that that reason no longer exists ? No one goes abroad
in a sailing-vessel now. Is it not a fact, that not as many
persons leave this port to go abroad in sailing-vessels, in a year,
as go down the harbor, far beyond the Commissioners' line, in
sailing-boats, on any summer afternoon? Besides, it is neither
reasonable nor consistent now to say that compulsory pilotage
is necessary to protect life or property either on sailing-
ships, when we have already abolished it on a large class of
ships on which life and property are exposed to as much danger
as it is upon those vessels which remain subject to it. If all
there is now at issue is a question of prudence in the care of
property, why may you not leave that to the judgment of the
owners here, as you do in all other circumstances or cases?
THE EFFICENCY OF THIS FEATURE OF THE LAWS OVERRATED.
We doubt whether the protection, which has been alleged to
be in compulsory pilotage, has, at any time within the last
thirty years, really existed. Managers of insurance corpora-
tions are generally quick to apprehend danger, and to protect
their interest against it. Life companies prohibit the insured
from going almost anywhere ; but have you ever seen a policy
prohibiting the holder from sailing in or out of port anywhere
by reason of the absence in such port of compulsory pilotage?
It has not been shown that underwriters on ships ever made
any difference as to the risk or the amount of premium to be
paid according as the vessel was or was not bound to or from
a port where pilotage was compulsory.
Let us not alarm ourselves for the safety of these insurance
gentlemen. You may be sure that, at the first scent of real
danger, they will, as they can easily, protect themselves by a
clause in the policy.
MODERN AIDS TO SAFE NAVIGATION.
Note the changes which have taken place within the present
century in respect to our coast, harbors, and methods of navi-
gation. When the present system was adopted our coasts and
harbors were slightly known. There was hardly a light-house,
or any beacon, except an uncertain bonfire on some prominent
height ; no signal stations, no telegraph, no whistles, few
buoys, if any, to mark any channel ; no bells or fog signals ; and
the ships which sailed out went irregularly on long voyages.
The approaches to land generally were in the condition which
nature left them. Since then immense sums have been ex-
pended in straightening and improving them ; shallow places
have been deepened, rocks removed, new channels cut, and
marked ; every acre of the sea-coast has, with the greatest care,
by the general government, been surveyed, and mapped out ;
the depth of the water in every rod of the adjacent sea has
been measured and shown on maps and charts now in the hands
of every master mariner. Lights and signals of distinctive
features stand on every point, headland, or island, and to the
navigator the coast is now as safe by night as by day. The
vessels which now ply the waters of our harbors do so with a
regularity and frequency then unknown. Navigation, instead of
being knowledge acquired by the slow process of personal ex-
perience, is now a science of which more can be acquired in a
year than in a lifetime a century ago. Steam tug-boats, then
unknown, have also become a most important auxiliary to naviga-
tion. They do, and are qualified to do, all that pilots ever did
or could do, and much more. .In Boston Harbor there are
many steam-tugs which are capable of going anywhere, and
towing vessels of any size, from Boston to New York, Balti-
more, Portland, or elsewhere, in any weather or season. Their
masters are competent pilots, and required to pass rigid examina-
tion by inspectors of the general government, and to be licensed.
The evidence before you all shows that when any aid is required
by a master to get his vessel in or out of port, it is the aid
which can be given by a tug, and not by a pilot.
We admit the antiquity of compulsory pilotage, about which
so much has been said. Its origin was before light-houses, or
surveys, or charts ; before storm-signals or the telegraph ;
before improvements of the channels ; before the days of
steamboats ; before the time of Bowditch and " The Practical
Navigator." And it was the absence of all our present aids
to navigation that made these now obnoxious regulations
necessary or tolerable.
In the infancy of communities and States, before civil laws
are established, there are times when rough measures are re-
sorted to for protection and safety, but which are odious and
oppressive, and afterwards intolerable. Compulsory pilotage
has outlived the occasions for its creation, and the period of its
usefulness has passed.
THE BURDENS OF IT.
An attempt is made to belittle the burden of it on the ship-
masters, by showing what a small per cent, it is of the value
of the cargoes which enter the port. But the figures enable us
to see exactly what the burden is. The fees upon a vessel of
15 feet draft of water, bound in to this port, are $52.50.
The fees upon the same vessel bound out of port are $31.50;
making the whole amount for the trip, in and out, $84.00,
exclusive of distance-money, which may be $10.50 more. The
tax upon such a vessel, making ten trips per year, which vessels
running to the British provinces may make, is $840. Mr. Delong
stated to you that these fees for a trip often amount to one-half
of the net earnings of the vessel ! Mr. Adams stated that
during the present week he was obliged to pay $63 inward
pilotage fees on a barque owned by him bound from Hayti
to Boston ; that the whole freight of the barque was only $850,
and that he was obliged to pay this, notwithstanding the
barque was brought in by a steam-tug, for which tug-service
he paid only $50; that the pilot was of no use.
The fees upon a vessel of the same size, making five trips a
year to the West Indies or South America, are $320.
In a report by the late Nathaniel C. Nash, of Boston, who
was authority on this subject, made as a member of the Com-
mittee on Mercantile Affairs, to the House of Representatives
in 1869, he said : —
It was shown conclusively by the evidence before your committee that the
fees for half pilotage, paid by small provincial vessels, averaged thirteen
dollars a trip, and in four to six years sufficient to absorb the whole vessel,
and often the net earnings of the vessels, and were often a percentage of
five to ten per cent, on the cheap cargoes carried.
It appeared, also, that most of these vessels carried cargoes of little
value, such as wood, lumber, stone, coal, bark, and fish ; and that, in case of
accident, more than half the property was usually recovered, and that few of
them entered Boston during the winter.
The senior pilot of the port, Matthew Hunt, called by the pilots, testified
that the masters in this trade, after serving a year as mariners and a year as
mates, were generally competent to bring ^n or take out their vessels.
It was also in proof, that most of the money drawn from vessels engaged
in commerce with the Provinces was collected for services tendered and
In a communication made by the Solicitor of the "Vessel-
Owners and Masters' Association," of Philadelphia, to the
chairman of the Special Committee of Congress, " On the
causes of the reduction of American tonnage," in 1870,
appears this statement^ —
A vessel is thus compelled, in the course of a year, to pay a sum equal
at least to one-eighth of her net earnings for that year to pilot and pilot
associations ; and this, too, where services are neither actually rendered nor
In a statement made by the committee of the Maritime
Association of New York, in November, 1879, on this subject,
it was stated, that
Notwithstanding the immense foreign trade of the port — New York —
low rate of interest, reduction of wages, and cost of supplies, competition,
and other causes have rendered the carrying trade unremunerative ; Ameri-
can vessels, under the best management and most favorable circumstances,
barely paying any interest, and foreign vessels doing no better. The net
earnings of the pilots, in the meantime, have been steadily increasing, until
they now average more than the wages of the highest commodores of the
largest mercantile steamships of modern times.
Mr. John S. Emery, in an able presentation of the question
to you, showed, from his long experience and practical knowl-
edge, how heavily this tax and burden bears upon the ship-
owners of New England, whose vessels naturally enter the port
of Boston. He also, by comparison with the rates of other
ports, showed that the rates for this port are higher relatively —
in proportion to the distance run and labor and time occupied
in pilotage service — than in any other port of this country.
THE COMPULSORY FEATURE IS NOT NECESSARY TO KEEP
UP THE PILOTAGE SERVICE.
But it is said — and this is the one staple argument; a mere
assumption — that the maintenance of the compulsory feature
is the only condition on which the pilotage system can be kept
up. We deny this ; and we have not to go out of our own ex-
perience to show that it is not so. Compulsory pilotage was,
in 1 87 1 and in 1873, removed from about one-half the number
of vessels sailing from this port, and the gilotage system has not
suffered ; nor has the pilotage service in the harbor been im-
paired. No one claims it. Do the pilots admit that such service
is deteriorating? On the contrary, we see that the amount of
fees which the pilots have received has increased from $79,79-2
in 1873, to $1 17,428 in 1881, and this last year, too, remember,
they received no compulsory fees from outward-bound sailing
vessels ; and the number of pilot boats is constantly increasing.
Five only are required by law to be kept, but business is good
enough to employ seven. There is no want of good pilots in
the ports of Maine, or in any ports where pilotage is not com-
pulsory. In a report of the Committee on Commerce of the
44th Congress, in April, 1876, on this subject, submitted by Mr.
Pierce, of this State, it is stated, that
The experience on the coast of Maine, the most dangerous on the At-
lantic seaboard, has also demonstrated the fact, that, even in the less fre-
quented ports, it is not necessary to tax vessels which do not require pilots,
in order to maintain an organization for those which do require them.
And in a Report of Shipping, by a Committee of the British
Parliament, in i860, is the following statement : —
It appears that in the pilotage district of Newcastle, where the voluntary
system prevails, and where navigation is difficult, and. at times, dangerous,
no inconvenience results from the absence of any legal compulsion to em-
ploy a pilot ; neither is the demand for, nor the supply of, duly licensed
pilots in any way diminished by the practice which prevails ; on the contrary,
the supply is much greater that it is at any other place where pilotage is
THE SUPPLY WILL FOLLOW THE DEMAND.
Has it been shown that there is a port anywhere in which
pilots are needed and they cannot be obtained, irrespective of
compulsory pilotage regulations? Is pilotage the solitary busi-
ness, and is Boston the solitary place where the supply of any
service will not come with the demand for it? Do the advo-
cates of compulsory pilotage want more than a supply for the
demand? Do they want to tax me, not only for what some one
else may want, but also for what neither he nor anybody wants?
No. Free competition would improve this service, as it does
every other. Do you expect improvement in a legalized mo-
nopoly? What stimulus is there to improve their service, when
the pilots have guaranteed to them all there is? What induce-
ment have they to go far out to sea in bad weather to seek for
vessels in peril, or in want of pilots, when they can lie along the
Commissioners' line, in safety and comfort, and be sure of
catching them all? And, as might be expected, they do not do
it. Every master mariner who has been before us has said that
it is in bad weather, when pilots are needed, that they are not
found; that, like Sir Joseph Porter, K.C.B., of Her Majesty's
When the breezes blow,
They generally go below.
It is said that the law gives the fee for an offer to the first
pilot only who tenders his services to an inward-bound vessel ;
but suppose the pilots pool their catch, as the fishermen do, and
as the pilots to some extent certainly do, what becomes of the
incentive or stimulus to go out to sea in bad weather then?
The law secures to them all there is to be had.
Mr. Delong, who probably handles as many vessels coming
from the Provinces to this port as any broker or merchant
here, stated that it was the constant statement of the masters of
those vessels that pilots were plenty in fair weather ; scarce in
bad. We say that the law itself is calculated to create, as it has,
a corps of "fair-weather pilots."
The testimony on this point from many masters and owners,
from Mr. Lunt, and even from some of the pilots also, shows that
this is not an exaggeration. And the real cause of this state of
things is not so much the fault of the pilots as it is of the law.
THE LAWS OF OTHER COUNTRIES ARE NOT AUTHORITY
It is urged as a reason for retaining this law that the pros-
perous commercial empire of Great Britain retains it. But is
it shown that the prosperity of England, or the extent of her
commerce, or any part of it, is attributable to compulsory
pilotage? The commercial prosperity of England no more
proves the advantage of such pilotage than it does the advan-
tage of the law of primogeniture, or the peculiarities of her
laws of marriage.
Many things are often taken for cause and effect which are
Compulsory pilotage prevails to a much less extent in
English ports than is claimed. And it is certain that many
classes of ships in English ports are now free, which, twenty
years ago, were subject to such pilotage. But we do not follow
English example in this matter. English ship-owners have a
protection which we do not have, that relieves compulsory
pilotage there of its most unjust feature.
England and her colonies — Canada and Australia — exempt
the owners of vessels from liability, loss, or damage occasioned
by the vessel while such licensed pilot is on board and in com-
mand, — and most justly. Why should the master or owner
of a vessel be held liable for a damage occasioned by the
neglect, misconduct, or fault of a person, pilot or otherwise,
whom they, such master or owner, had no power to select, and
whom they could not refuse to take? Clearly they should not,
and there they are not.
6 Geo. IV., ch. 125, sec. 56.
Abbott on Shipping, 12th ed., p. 159.
The Protector, 1 Wm. Rob., 45.
Yet the courts of the United States hold that vessels are not
exempt from liability for damage or loss occasioned by collision
or other cause, although occasioned by the sole fault of such a
pilot which the law obliges them to take, and while on board
and in actual command of the vessel.
See Steamship China, 7 Wallace, 53.
This is now the law of the land, so that now the law obliges
the master and owner, in ports where pilotage is compulsory, to
surrender the management of their ship into the hands of a
stranger, over whom they have no control, and yet the vessel
and her owners remain liable for any damages resulting by
collision or otherwise, though occasioned solely by the neglect,
incompetency, or misconduct of such pilot.
American ship-owners justly protest against being placed in
such a position as this. If you should change it so as to give
them the relief from the liability .which ship-owners under the
law of England have, then they would also justly ask you to
provide that the pilots themselves be made practically answer-
able and responsible for their faults, negligence, and mis-
conduct, by which loss or damage is occasioned to ship-owners.
This difference between the English law and ours not only
destroys any authority which the policy of England might
otherwise be to us in this matter, but this liability (of vessels and
their owners for damages occasioned by such pilot) is alone, I
think, a sufficient reason for abolishing compulsory pilotage.
Shall we put off the repeal of an unjust law because other States
or nations do? It is possible that each and all of them have
some reason for retaining it which we do not have. One reason
is said to exist in some harbors of the Southern States which
does not exist here, — the changing position of sand-bars, which
cannot always be accurately shown on the chart.
Is it worth while to keep up this system in any spirit of re-
taliation, because other nations do so? Shall we embarrass or
burden the trade, for instance, with the British Provinces, which
brings to us the products of those places, which we need, and
with which they buy, to take back there, the manufactures and
products of our country, which we desire to sell, merely be-
cause those Provinces impose certain dues or taxes on our
ships going there? It must not be forgotten that our govern-
ment exacts a tonnage tax of thirty cents per ton each year
on all their ships which enter our ports, which tax is larger
than all the light dues, etc., which the Provinces impose on our
ships entering their ports.
PILOTAGE OF OUTWARD-BOUND VESSELS.
To the present time (Feb. I, 1882) we believe that pilotage
on outward-bound vessels was never compulsory in this State,
and that an examination of the statutes will show it. See Chap.
It appears that the pilot commissioners, under Sect. 1 7 of Chap.
176 of the Act of 1862, applied to the Governor and Coun-
cil in Sept., 1865, for a proclamation of the Governor to make
pilotage upon outward-bound vessels compulsory. No notice
of such application was given to ship-owners or other parties
to be affected by it; no hearing was had; but such proclama-
tion was made, and published, in 1865, in one Boston news
paper, and never until now was published or printed in any other
place. It never appeared with the statutes of the Common-
wealth. We believe that it was not law ; that it had not the
force of law; and that the Legislature of 1862 never intended
by the power which they did give to the Governor and Council
in said Section 17, Chap. 176, of 1862, to delegate to the Gov-
ernor and Council the power to create a new tax and burden
and obligation of that character ; that if they did, it was un-
No attempt was made to enforce it; the pilots did not dare
to test it by carrying any case into court, and the Legislature,
in 1869, by Chap. 236, repealed the whole of said Sect. 17; and
it was thought that by that repeal of Sect. 17 the proclamation
of the Governor, which rested upon it, then ceased to have any
force, if any it ever had.
It is true, however, the exact state of the case not being
generally known to ship-masters, that the pilots succeeded in
various ways in making masters pay pilotage fees on many
Ship-owners, about three years ago, became apprised of the
facts, and payments of outward pilotage ceased. An action
was brought into court to recover such pilotage, in the summer
of 1 88 1, and is now pending.
It appears, however, that the attention of the Committee on
the Revision of the Statutes, which went into effect on the 1st
inst., was called to the said proclamation of the Governor, and
without hearing or discussion, as I can find out, was put into
the body of the public statutes as Sect. 27 of Chap. 70.
By this statute outward pilotage is now compulsory in this
port, upon those vessels on which it is compulsory, when such
vessels are bound into said port, — a long step backward
The pilots and pilot commissioners are, of course, desirous of
keeping that law. It will increase their revenue. But it would
be, it seems to us, an abuse of the privilege and power of this
General Court, if they suffered it to remain over this session.
We cannot think that you can hesitate to relieve parties in-
terested in shipping in this State from a law so secretly and
irregularly foisted upon them. Who can fail to see the different
circumstances of leaving port from those of entering it?
Chief Justice Shaw, fifty years ago, in a question before the
Court (Heridia v. Ayres, 12 Pick., p. 343), on this subject,
said : —
Vessels outward bound have the selection of their time of sailing under
favorable circumstances of wind and weather, with a full knowledge of their
position, and when they have cleared the land can proceed to sea without
danger. With inward-bound vessels all this is reversed; the danger consists
in approaching the land, and they need the aid of a pilot when this danger
The theory on which the Commissioners' line is drawn is, that
it is safe for vessels to go without pilots inside of it. If vessels
bound in pass it without being spoken, they are deemed by the
law past all dangers, and afterwards are not obliged to take a
pilot for the rest of the way in. Yet Mr. Nash says truly, that
the pilots on outward-bound vessels take them only to this same
line, thereby piloting outward-bound vessels over that portion
only of the harbor where the law deems and declares it to be so
safe as to allow vessels going the other way to go without pilot !
To such absurdities does this law lead.
This Commissioners' line was changed, or attempted to be
changed, also by the Governor and Council in 1866; but the
change was never published with the laws of the State, nor is it
found in the Public Statutes., or in print anywhere else except in
a newspaper of that year.
Much is and will be said and done out of sympathy for the
" poor pilots"! It is said that they must live. If there is a
necessity for a charity here, let the expense of it be borne, as.
that of other State charities are, by general taxation, by the
public at large. Is it not unkind, to say the least, to throw that
burden in the future on to a few persons, because they have been
good enough to bear it in the past? But the pilots need no
charity. Pilotage on steamships last year amounted to $63,265,
within $2,000 of as much as the pilotage on all vessels amounted
to in 1867, when there were the same number of pilots. Many
large sailing vessels will be piloted in as heretofore. The in-
crease of foreign steamships has been such that the amount of
the pilots' receipts from them for 1 88 1 was over $11,000
greater than it was in 1880; and over $7,000 greater in 1880
than it was in 1879; and over $9,500 larger in 1879 than in
1878; and over $15,000 larger in 1878 than it was in 1877.
These figures are from the statement of the secretary of the
pilot commissioners produced here. From the same statement
it appears the total receipts for pilotage of steam vessels in 1872
was $7,725 ; in 1 88 1 it was $63,265, — over $55,000 increase in
nine years. Counsel for the pilots finds comfort for his clients
in the fact that the shipping of Bangor and Portland has not
increased latterly, and that in those ports there is no compulsory
pilotage. But how is it with Salem and Newburyport, which
have the benefits of compulsory pilotage? Such comparisons
or instances prove nothing. One might as well argue that it is
necessary for a great poet to have a club-foot because Lord
Byron had one ; or that it is necessary to a great commercial
city to have bad sand-bars in its harbor, because there are such
in the entrance to Liverpool. Boston has kept a little of her
commerce, not because of compulsory pilotage, but in spite of
it. The Boston pilots are not objects of charity; they can take
care of themselves.
In 1 88 1 vessels in the port of Philadelphia were greatly
relieved, and the fees remaining are much smaller in proportion
to the labor required than are those at Boston. Compulsory
pilotage on East River has been abolished on all coastwise
vessels. The drift in this State is unmistakable. Every legisla-
tive act on the subject for twenty years has been in the line of
further exemptions ; fully one-half in number of vessels enter-
ing Massachusetts ports were relieved from compulsory pilot-
age by the acts of 1871 and 1873. Notwithstanding the
objections then made to these acts, which were the same objec-
tions which are now made here, no evil has resulted ; nobody
has offered to show that property has been lost by it, or that
the " service " has deteriorated, or that the pilots have suffered
in consequence. They have the present week launched a new
boat, of spacious dimensions, finished, according to the published
accounts, " in mahogany, plush and velvet," with accommoda-
tions for thirty pilots, and all modern improvements.
There can be little doubt, though it has been difficult to get
at, that several Boston pilots received net, over all expenses and
board, over $4,000 each for the year 1881.
" FEW DIE, AND NONE RESIGN."
They have advanced one very curious reason for extending
or keeping compulsory pilotage, viz., that it is an unhealthy
business ; that many pilots at some time or other die of con-
sumption. You would naturally suppose that men would avoid
a destructive occupation ; but it appears that young men wait
for it, and old men, at the age of sixty, with a comfortable com-
petency, return to it when they can.
The hardships, dangers, or deprivations bear no comparison
with those of fishermen or whalers, or any other men who " go
down to the sea in ships," where compensation is not a fifth
part of that of the former.
You have had presented to you an account of the lives,
fortunes and misfortunes, deaths and dates of the deaths, of
Boston pilots since 1 8 1 3 ; the thirty-six places have from time
to time been made vacant by one cause or another, but not a
resignation among them all. From the facts in the case, I
should say this was exactly the class of officials of whom Mr.
Webster spoke, when he said, u Few die, and none resign."
Gentlemen, the ship-owners and merchants who ask you to
repeal these obnoxious and burdensome regulations are the
only parties entitled to consideration here. They are the only
parties who have an interest in this matter proper for you to
consider; and with and among all these men, on whom and
whose business depends the commercial prosperity of this city
and Commonwealth, there is but one opinion and one sentiment
on this subject — that expressed in their resolutions and petitions.
You know how desirable it is, and what efforts have been made,
to revive your interests in shipping, and restore to Boston her
former position in the commerce of this and other countries.
Let us open our harbors to our neighbors, and let Boston's
position in the world's commerce, so far as this matter goes, be
that of a " free " port, which signifies liberality in business,
progress, and civilization.
[COPY OF RESOLUTIONS.]
Boston, Jan. 30, 1882.
A meeting of the merchants of Boston was held this day in the rooms of
the Board of Trade, in answer to a call from the "Pilotage Committee 11 of
the " New England Ship-owners 1 Association."
After a full and free discussion of the subject of Compulsory Pilotage the
following resolutions were passed unanimously : —
Resolved, That the Pilotage Committee of the New England Ship-Owners
Association be and are hereby requested to appear before the Committee of
the Legislature on " Mercantile Affairs," and ask for the abolition of
Resolved, That should the Legislative committee seem opposed to the
entire abolition of Compulsory Pilotage, then this Committee of the N. E. S.
O. Association are given full powers to petition for such modifications of
existing pilotage laws as may in their judgment seem to be needed for the
relief of our shipping interest.
To the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth
of Massachusetts, in General Cozirt assembled: —
The undersigned petitioners, citizens of Massachusetts, merchants of
Boston, interested in shipping in the port of Boston, respectfully represent
that, in our opinion, that feature of the Pilotage Regulations of this
State which obliges sailing vessels bound into, or out of, the harbor of
Boston to take pilots and pay them certain fees, regardless of whether the
services of such pilots are needed or required, is now wholly unnecessary,
a useless burden, a source of much litigation and annoyance, and an injury to
shipping interests of this port.
We believe that no inconvenience has resulted from the relief and exemp-
tion which have from time to time been given to certain classes of vessels
from this burden ; and we fail to see any reason why any prejudicial discrim-
ination should be made or kept up against the port of Boston, or against
those who, with many other disadvantages, are struggling to maintain our
interests, and the interests of our city and State in trade and shipping with
foreign countries. We learn, with surprise, it is now claimed to be the law
that vessels outward bound from this port to foreign ports are, by a recent
law, subject to this burden and liability.
We earnestly petition your Honorable Body to repeal and abolish these
features of the laws and regulation pertaining to pilotage in this port which
create and impose upon shipping the useless burdens and liability to which we
W. F. HUMPHREY,
Boston, Jan. 30, 1SS2.
[COPY OF PETITION.]
Burt, Alexander & Co.
John S. Emery & Co.
Stephen H. Whidden.
And. J. Peters.
Kilham, Loud & Co.
John Walter & Co.
Geo. D. Emery.
M. F. Whiton & Co.
Wm. Pope & Sons.
Henry Hastings & Co.
C. Lovell & Son.
Hinckley Bros. & Co.
J. Baker & Co.
E. H. Atwood.
Joseph Nickerson & Co.
Bakers & Humphrey.
Doane & Crowell.
Uriah B. Fiske.
Atwood & Rich.
J. W. Linnell.
T. L. Mayo & Co.
C. L. Bartlett & Co.
C. & J. A. Baker.
Gammans & Co.
James Bliss & Co.
Whiton Bros. & Co.
N. Boynton & Co.
WlTHERSPOON & TOWNSEND.
Boston, February, 1S82.
Of the amounts received by each of the Boston Pilots, as returned
by them to the Cornmissioners, for the year 1881 .
• $3,764 25
Thompson * .
. 4,098 25
Smith * . . . .
Colby * . . .
Reed, M. . . .
Wilson . . .
. 5,78i 50
Wellock . .
Martin, S. C. . .
Abbott . . .
• 5,751 25
Martin, E. G. . .
. 3,203 75
Lampee . . .
Farfield * . .
McField, Wm. .
McField, J. A.
Fowler, F. .
Total . . .
■ $93,53o 32
The above made
having been on
duty the whole
Aug. B. Perry & Co.
J. Ashton Preston.
Welch, Humphrey & Co.
Addison, Gage & Co.
M. F. Pickering & Co.
Colton & Haley.
E. A. Adams.
A. G. Sawyer.
Lewis & Hall.
G. N. Black.
S. C. Blanchard.
Kinsman & Co.
Crocker Bros. & Co.
J. P. Ellicott & Co.
Geo. H. Peters & Co.
J. H. Flitner & Co.
Geo. E. Downes.
Delong & Seaman.
Cu minings .
Nash . .
Kelly . -.
Tewksbury, H. A.
McField, E. S. .
Fowler, W. C.
The above nine made returns as having been on duty nine
Tew ksbury, W. F.
Leary * . .
Dolliver, A. H. * $869 75
The above three made returns for six months of the year.
Hunt * . . . $541 50 I Reed, J $866 50
Made returns as having been on duty three months only.
The total amount returned, as received by all the pilots, for
the year 1881, was $118,653.37.
The average amount received by each pilot, who held a full
branch or warrant, and who made returns for the whole year,
The above were all returned as from pilots connected with
Those marked * did not have a branch or warrant for all vessels.